The search to find a left-fielder
ESPN.com senior writer Dave Schoenfield wrote an interesting piece this week. He looks at the weakest position for each MLB team over the last decade.
Help wanted!Dave Schoenfield, ESPN.com
Almost every team has a problem position -- you know, that spot where one season a hot prospect is starting (and failing), the next season it’s a washed-up vet, then some random Triple-A player -- and the team can never get out of that cycle.Maybe your favorite club has one.............
He concludes LF has been the Reds biggest trouble spot. Is there any doubt? Heck, think of the team's four decade plus search at that position around the careers of George Foster and Adam Dunn.
Reds manager Sparky Anderson moved Foster into the starting left-field spot during the 1975 season and the rest the say, is history. Foster won an MVP award and was one of the best players in the game for a seven year stretch.
George Foster 1975-1981
Average season: .297-.369-.543-.911, 32 HR, 107 RBI, OPS+ 149
Dunn arrived on the scene in 2001 and locked down the LF spot in 2002. But remember when people use to complain that he struck out too much, didn't drive in enough runs and couldn't play defense?I may have even referred to Dunn as a beer-league softball player on occasion. Looking back, all he did was hit 40 bombs, drive in 100 runs, walk 100 times and strikeout a gazzilion times a year. I still remember fans complaining that he didn't have a single sacrifice fly in 2004.
Adam Dunn 20002-2008
Average season: .246-.382-.514-.896, 37 HR, 90 RBI, 108 BB, 169 K, OPS+ 130
Think about the options the Reds tried at that position from George Foster's final season in 1982 to Dunn grabbing the full-time role in 2002. And then consider the black hole in LF from Dunn's departure by trade in August of 2008 until now:
I looked back at the LF position for the Reds over the years:
The Reds traded Adam Dunn in August of 2008. By my count they have used over 40 different players in LF, including eight in 2014 and nine in 2015 and nine in 2016.
Some of the players that have made appearances in LF since the Dunn trade:
Yonder Alonso, Wladimir Balentien, Roger Bernadina, Brennan Boesch, Jason Bourgeois, Marlon Byrd, Jolbert Cabrera, Wilkin Castillo, Shin-Soo Choo, Ivan De Jesus Jr., Chris Dickerson, Chris Dominguez, Adam Duvall, Jim Edmonds, Todd Frazier, Jonny Gomes, Jerry Hairston Jr., Willie Harris, Chris Heisey, Jeremy Hermida, Tyler Holt, Ryan LaMarre, Fred Lewis, Ryan Ludwick, Donald Lutz, Darnell McDonald, Kristopher Negron, Laynce Nix, Xavier Paul, Jose Peraza, Tony Renda, Derrick Robinson, Yorman Rodriguez, Dave Sappelt, Scott Schebler, Skip Schumaker, Steve Selksky, Drew Sutton, Joey Votto and Kyle Waldrop.
Adam Duvall hit 33 homers and drove in 103 runs in his 2016 All-Star season and was a Gold Glove finalist. Can he replicate that performance in 2017? Is he the long-term answer? What about Jesse Winker? Could Winker be the next to lock down the position for a multi-year run?
Leader in games played in LF since 1982
1982: Eddie Milner
1983: Gary Redus
1984: Gary Redus
1985: Gary Redus
1986: Eric Davis
1987: Ken Griffey Sr.
1988: Kal Daniels
1989: Kal Daniels
1990: Billy Hatcher
1991: Billy Hatcher
1992: Bip Roberts
1993: Kevin Mitchell
1994: Kevin Mitchell
1995: Ron Gant
1996: Eric Owens
1997: Chris Stynes
1998: Dmitri Young
1999: Greg Vaughn
2000: Dmitri Young
Adam Dunn 20002-2008
2009: Lanyce Nix
2010: Johnny Gomes
2011: Chris Heisey
2012: Ryan Ludwick
2013: Chris Heisey
2014: Ryan Ludwick
2015: Marlon Byrd
2016: Adam Duvall
2017, 2018, 2019, 2020.......?
Join our conversation HERE
What would be the strongest position group for the franchise over the years?